Microbiology of Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal in Aerated—Anoxic Orbal Processes

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The traditional process for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) in wastewater treatment involves an anaerobic zone followed by an aerobic zone. Although there is no strict anaerobic zone in aerated-anoxic Orbal processes, phosphorus removal in excess of that required for cell growth does occur. The microbial ecology of polyphosphate-accumulating organisms (PAO) in two full-scale Orbal wastewater treatment plants was investigated using flow cytometry to physically separate PAO from non-PAO and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to identify organisms. Although Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis, an uncultured organism associated with EBPR in acetate-fed laboratory-scale reactors, was detected, it did not seem to be the dominant PAO in these processes. Comparative FISH analyses of the activated sludge and the PAO-rich subpopulation did not reveal the presence of a dominant group of PAO in these full-scale plants. Rather, the analysis suggested that the operational characteristics of aerated-anoxic processes might select for a diverse PAO community that is significantly different from that observed in acetate-fed laboratory reactors or in traditional EBPR configurations.
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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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